Combatting the Hybrid Work Model: An Interview with OnTruck

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Iñigo. Juantegui, CEO of Ontruck: „Part of what we have learned will remain in the culture of our organisations post-COVID-19“

Ontruck is a regional and local trucking operator. Its differential value is the use of technology. It is what they call “smart trucking”. Like all companies, they have experienced the impact of the crisis and have had to adapt their work models. One of their main strategies for this post-pandemic era has been to abandon their traditional offices and seek a more flexible workspace. Not only did they want this new space to be compatible with a hybrid model that combined teleworking and face-to-face work for their staff, but also to help nurture their evolution as a company by facilitating their connection with other professionals and startups within a technological ecosystem. and digital. We spoke with Talent Garden Spain’s newest member Iñigo Juantegui , Co-founder and CEO of Ontruck.

What is Ontruck and who are you targeting?

Ontruck is an online platform for the transport of goods by road that offers an intelligent cargo management system. Its mission is to offer a more efficient, economic and sustainable service with the environment. Producing and distributing companies that need to ship goods find in Ontruck an offer of highly qualified vehicles and carriers to which to assign these loads with full price transparency, with a reliable and efficient delivery service, and traceability guarantees during the whole process.

For their part, carriers find OnTruck an offer of loads that they can easily accept or not, through a free application. In this way, they can plan their entire working day based on the loads obtained through Ontruck, or they can complement routes already programmed by completing the occupation of their vehicles with additional loads, eliminating empty kilometres and increasing their monthly income.

 

How has the coronavirus crisis affected you? 

In our case, being an online platform for the transport of goods by road, we were affected in two ways. On the one hand, the activity of the carriers was more important than ever during the first months of the crisis. As the flow of the business in normal conditions depends on them, during lockdown they have become the lifeline that has guaranteed the supply of the families. On the other hand, our management activity is based on technology and we are a digital native company, so our adaptation to this scenario and teleworking has been carried out in a simple  way. We kept our workforce active remotely 24/7, even for the most urgent needs. 

From a business point of view, during the first months of the crisis, the industry in general fell by around 40%. By having Ontruck a highly diversified client portfolio, it has affected us in a very similar way to the rest of the industry. Regardless, we are already experiencing a market recovery and we expect to continue growing this year compared to 2019.

 

What measures have you adopted for the prevention and commitment to safety in the transport of palletised goods?

We are in permanent contact with our carriers, informing them of all the protection measures and protocols implemented by customers at points of origin and destination. We greatly appreciate the efforts that everyone is making during all the pandemic.

 

Ontruck has raised capital throughout the pandemic this year. What does Ontruck have that makes investors bet on you?

Road freight transport is a massive market, representing around 9% of European GDP, and so far, it did not have enough technology. Our key to success is to show the solidity of the project, its scalability and the high professionalism of the team behind it. Ontruck’s innovations, pioneers in the industry, have transformed the logistics sector, allowing a more efficient and socially responsible management of the transport of goods by road, through its technological platform.

At Ontruck we are committed to investors who share our long-term vision and believe in what we are building beyond these unpredictable times. This is the case of the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) fund, our majority investor in the last round of financing, which invests in technological solutions that contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions, thus supporting the Paris Agreement and the fight against climate change.

OGCI shares our vision to drive a change in the efficiency of the road freight industry – a €600 billion market in Europe – and reduce the carbon emissions generated each year by unloaded commercial vehicles. Our collaboration with OGCI will accelerate our ability to build a new future for logistics in Europe, making it more efficient, transparent and sustainable.

 

What sectors do you think will discover more opportunities as a result of the coronavirus?

In general, those companies that allow digitizing services that you can consume at home benefit. All leisure at home, those related to work at home (Zoom is a great example), home shopping like Amazon, telemedicine, homeschooling, etc. Now we will have to see what trends have come to stay and which ones are temporary. In general, I think that COVID has been an accelerator of certain trends that were already growing, such as e-commerce or teleworking, so I think it is key to bet on the right trends. They say that the focus will be on detecting unicorn startups to „camel“, that is, more efficient, reliable and consume fewer resources … 

I believe that a Unicorn is not necessarily a wasteful company, there are thousands of examples of companies that with very little capital have built real empires. For example, Microsoft was profitable from day 1 and Google, Apple, Facebook, etc., although they have received investment, they became very profitable companies in the short term.

The trend now is the focus on efficient and profitable companies, on sustainable business models. It is to move the focus from growing at any cost to growing with head. From my point of view I think it is a good change, but I also think it is a cyclical process. Now we focus on profitable companies because investors will put more focus on business size and exorbitant growth. 

 

Let’s talk about the Hybrid Work Model: a combination of the traditional and home office. Do you think the future of work will include the hybrid model?

Thanks to our digital essence, from the first moment of the crisis we were able to ensure that we successfully offered our service remotely, outside our offices, reaching out to serve our clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our employees are used to working from home during Christmas, Easter or summer vacation periods, so we were perfectly prepared to make the absolute leap and operate with 100% of our workforce remotely, combining risk prevention from employees with the highest quality of customer service. But what will happen when this period of uncertainty ends? How will we proceed to return to a state of normality and what effects will the experience have on companies? Certainly not everything will be exactly as before.If a large part of the Spanish business fabric will have to thank the coronavirus for something, it will be its drive towards digitization, flexibility and remote working, and without a doubt, a part of what has been learned will remain in the new culture of organisations in the new post stage COVID-19.

At Ontruck, this return to normality will take place gradually and staggered, as we have verified that neither efficiency, productivity, nor service quality have been reduced by remote operations. Therefore, we want our employees to return to the office as it is safe, especially to recover the group dynamics that work best in person. 

 

Is that why you have come to Talent Garden? What factors did you look for when considering coworking?

As soon as restrictions began to lift, we decided to leave our office although we were clear that we were not going to give up on continuing to offer our employees a safe space where, on a voluntary basis, those who wanted could work.  

Talent Garden suited us very well because it brings together several characteristics that we see as essential when considering coworking:

  • Flexibility: In our own post-COVID-19 stage, we want to further encourage work flexibility. We will give the opportunity to telework a greater percentage of their workday to those employees who wish to do so, even offering this alternative for 100% of their workday to those who are in a family situation that requires it. For those who prefer to work in the office, we want a flexible space which allows the employee to organise their working hours according to their personal situation.
  • Location: we prefer spaces that facilitate accessibility for our workers.
  • Encouraging Innovation: being able to share synergies with other startups and learn from each other.
  • A Safe Space in which all security measures are met and a guarantee of cleanliness and social distancing.

 

What do companies need to surrender to the benefits of remote work? 

Fortunately, the technology exists to make remote work possible. Tools such as digital workspaces, collaboration technologies and hundreds of corporate applications allow us to connect and do our work from anywhere in a safe and reliable way.

Working remotely is a big change for employees who are used to working from the office and requires them to think and operate in completely different ways. It is important that managers establish objectives in their respective teams so that they can follow up on the results without the need for a “face to face”. However, before enacting any policy, it is necessary to work closely with HR leaders to provide the context for the change along with resources to help them make the adjustment.

 

What other benefits do you hope your team and Ontruck will find as a company in a coworking and in the Talent Garden community? Do you see growth opportunities that you would not have in another space?

One of the „intangible“ advantages that we value most in a coworking is the professional and personal collaboration environment that is created between workers from different startups, creating synergies between them. In addition, it is a great opportunity to surround yourself with talents, expand your network of contacts and grow professionally!

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